My 4 year old daughter is very into dressing up–including the make-up. Do you know if there are safer kids’ make-up products out there? Maybe I’m paranoid, but I worry about the $5 variety available at the toy store–do I need to worry about it irritating her eyes, or bothering her skin? -Kristen

In a word, “yes”.

Kristen, you are smart to worry about play makeup since it can be loaded with particles and ingredients that are anything but kid-friendly to little lungs, eyes and skin. After my kids received a big cheap kit of “play makeup” made of who-knows-what, I decided to take matters into my own hands and pick up a few things that would satisfy their curiosity without potentially harming them.


Ideal Bite lip balms

Bright, gooey red lipstick may be fun for kids to apply, but there is nothing funny about it when I realized they were eating the lipstick right off their lips. Considering how many scary ingredients can be in lipstick (lead!), I think it’s safer to stick with eco-friendly lip balms like the brands outlined on CMP fave, Ideal Bite.

If balms don’t cut it for your daughter, check out The Body Shop’s safer-ingredient lipstick which is an affordable option for the occasional dress up. The light floral fragrance and slight vanilla flavor will definitely appeal to kids, but I’d still be sure to keep the lip-licking to a minimum.


Face Paints

For most kids, makeup is just another word for “face paint”, and Ideal Bite is again a great source for vegetable and mineral-based face paints. Just keep an eye on them or your daughter may decide to draw all over every other part of her body too. Or, maybe that’s just my kid?

Want something a little less costumey? Bath & Body Works’ 100% Pure line of fruit pigment lip-and-cheek tints and lip glosses (show, at top) will give her just enough glow to make her happy.


Sun Coat Nail Polish

While we’re talking makeup, let’s not forget safer nail polishes. Sun Coat Products’ Water-based Nail Products are phthalate and formaldehyde-free and even offer vegan color options in a range of grown-up shade so you can share too (check out the new Suncoat Girls’ polish too!) Having your fingernails painted by a four-year-old is also a great way to practice finding your special happy place. There’s also a brand of non-toxic children’s nailpolish called Piggy Paints that we haven’t tried ourselves, but we hear they have a lot of fans.


Target Eco-Tools

The truth is, sometimes kids just like going through the motions of putting on makeup more than the actual makeup. You can always just use your makeup brushes and pretend. Or if would make her happy to have her own set, grab a 5-piece set of EcoTools cosmetic brushes for just over $10 at Target, and let her “powder her face” to her heart’s content.